If there’s something a seasoned agent doesn’t want to hear, it’s a loud crash from somewhere in the building at 3am. Phil was out of the bed and sprinting down the corridor with his gun in his hand even before he had properly registered what had happened. Or his eyes open, for that matter.
The past couple of months had been rough and the recent battle with rogue Hydra agents even more off their hinges than usual had drained the whole team. None of the Avengers was unfamiliar with the bone-deep fatigue that came with extended missions, but when Natasha of all people had walked straight to the wall half asleep, Phil had known some drastic measures had to be taken. He had informed Nick that the whole Avengers team was off duty for the foreseeable future and if the world ended, someone else should take care of things, thank you very much.
Herding the overtired team back into the Tower had taken some heavy-duty wrangling and Phil had been almost ready to weep when he’d finally had the chance to lie down.
Until the crash, that was.
Apparently, the noise had been loud enough for the whole team to sprint in action.
Wearing just an oversized tank top did nothing to diminish Natasha’s deadly vibe and Thor looked just as magnificent nude as he did with his clothes on. Bruce was slightly green around the eyes and, for some reason, Tony was holding Cap’s shield while Steve was battle-ready wearing only bright red briefs. Phil absolutely didn’t peek a glance at his butt, and even if he did, he’d deny it. He had better things to do.
Like figuring out why Clint was threatening a turkey with a fork.
”Barton, what are you doing?” Phil asked carefully.
Clint turned around and swayed a little. He’d been injured during the mission and Phil had thought he’d be passed out on his pain medication. Apparently, he’d thought wrong. Clint had the owlish look of someone going too long without sleep and his hair was sticking in all directions. He looked absolutely adorable.
”Clint,” Phil said gently. ”Why is the turkey on the floor?”
Clint blinked slowly, frowned, and narrowed his eyes at said roast. The poor, stuffed bird already had two forks sticking out of its back.
”Shhh,” Clint shoshed, raising his finger to his mouth and almost managed to stab himself in the eye with the fork. Without a thought, Phil plucked the fork from Clint’s hand.
”I’m going back to bed,” Natasha muttered and covered a yawn. The others followed her after half-heartedly asking Phil if everything was under control.
Phil decided to ignore the raised brow she threw at him and opened the fridge to get some OJ. Only his reflexes saved his hand from the fridge door slamming shut with enough force to make the whole appliance rattle. He whirled around to see Clint directing the full volume of his intense stare at the fridge.
”Barton?” Phil snapped. ”Clint? Care to explain what that was?”
Clint pointed at the fridge with a finger. ”It’s witched. The fridge and everything in it!”
”Witched,” Phil repeated flatly.
”Yes,” Clint hissed. ”I wanted a snack and opened the fridge and, you know, asked myself what I’d fancy. The thing is, Phil, the turkey talked back!” He flailed his hands and would’ve toppled over if Phil hadn’t caught him.
”Oh,” Phil said mildly. ”What did the turkey say?” he asked as he helped Clint to sit down at the breakfast bar.
”I don’t remember,” Clint mumbled on Phil’s collar bone as he rested his forehead against Phil’s shoulder. ”You smell nice,” he continued. ”Why?”
”It’s the shower gel Natasha gave me,” Phil said and gave in the temptation to stroke his fingers along Clint’s back.
Clint took a deep sniff and let out a contented, humming sound, snuggling closer. Phil was more than happy to stand and soak in Clint’s warmth, but after a short moment he realized Clint had actually fallen asleep on his chest and his face buried in Phil’s neck.
Phil was man enough to admit he wouldn’t mind having Clint falling asleep on him on a regular basis, but the time and place were hardly optimal. It didn’t take long for his back to start to ache and he knew that if he didn’t move soon, his muscles would start cramping in any moment. Heaving an inner sigh, he trailed his fingers one last time along the wide planes of Clint’s back and then gently shook him.
”Clint? You should probably go to bed.”
Clint let out a garbled sound and nuzzled his face into Phil’s neck.
Phil swallowed and shook Clint again.
”Don’ wanna,” Clint grumbled. ”My bed’s awful. It doesn’t smell like you.”
Phil wasn’t sure of how to respond, but before he could come up with something non-committal, Jarvis interrupted him.
”Mr. Barton is correct. His bed doesn’t smell anything like you, nor does it have a ’Phil-shaped dent’ in it. In fact, it doesn’t contain anything Phil-related, a fact Mr. Barton has been complaining quite a lot recently. May I suggest you do something about it?” There was a pause and then Jarvis added, ”Sir.”
The AI sounded pissed. The only time it had happened before was something none of the team wanted to remember. The aftermath had involved malfunctioning appliances and two weeks of nothing else to eat but raw rutabagas. And since Phil was a man with a healthy self-preservation skills, he nodded and said ”Of course,” before he manhandled Clint up and out of the kitchen.
They’d barely made it around the corner when Natasha entered, glared at the ceiling, and said, ”That’s cheating.”
”I will relay your complaints to Sir,” Jarvis answered, sounding smug. ”Merry Christmas, Miss Romanova.”
She huffed but let her lips draw into a small smirk. Cheating or not, it had worked.
About damn time.